Palestine in Pictures: October 2020

Palestinian farmers sort freshly picked dates during the annual harvest in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip, 7 October.

Mohammed Zaanoun ActiveStills

Israeli forces killed two Palestinians in the occupied West Bank during October.

Soldiers shot and killed Samir Hamidi, 28, near the northern West Bank city of Tulkarm on 5 October. The military claimed that Hamidi was among a group throwing Molotov cocktails at soldiers near a checkpoint.

Hamidi is the fifth Palestinian – among them two children – killed this year for allegedly handling Molotov cocktails.

During 2018, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated in the context of Gaza’s Great March of Return that throwing Molotov cocktails does “not appear to constitute the imminent threat to life or deadly injury which could justify the use of lethal force.”

Excessive use of force is a prominent feature of Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

So is the use of collective punishment.

Israel is holding Hamidi’s body, preventing his family from having a burial. The country’s highest court has ruled it lawful for the military to confiscate the remains of Palestinians alleged to have attacked Israeli citizens or soldiers.

Israel is the only country in the world that confiscates corpses as a matter of policy in what human rights groups say is a form of collective punishment.

Boy killed

On 24 October, Israeli forces killed Amer Snobar, 16, and then lied about the circumstances of the boy’s death, saying that he lost consciousness and fell.

The teen was helping a friend move a broken-down car near the village of Turmusaya, north of the West Bank city Ramallah, when Israeli soldiers arrived, according to Defense for Children International Palestine.

“The friend managed to flee on foot to some nearby trees where he became an eyewitness to Snobar’s killing,” according to the rights group.

“Snobar was surrounded by Israeli forces and placed in a chokehold before being beaten and killed by Israeli forces, according to the eyewitness.”

Snobar likely died from asphyxiation, doctors told Defense for Children International Palestine. The rights group added that the “initial autopsy report also noted substantial bruising and wounds on Snobar’s chest and abdominal area.”

Five Palestinian children – including Amer Snobar – have been killed by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank so far this year.

Around 30 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers and police in 2020 or died from injuries sustained previously. Two Israelis, one of them a soldier, were slain by Palestinians during the same period.

The olive harvest began in early October and, as occurs every year, Israeli settlers in the West Bank have violently disrupted this cornerstone of the Palestinian economy and culture.

As of 19 October, 23 Palestinian farmers were injured and more than 1,000 olive trees were burned or otherwise damaged by Israeli settlers.

Israel razes Gaza land

Meanwhile, in Gaza, Israeli forces razed land inside the territory, destroying crops and irrigation systems for the reported purpose of destroying tunnels dug by Palestinian resistance groups.

Resistance groups in the territory, which has been under a punishing siege since 2007, fired rockets toward Israel on three occasions during October, causing no injuries. Israel carried out an airstrike on Gaza after one of those incidents.

Health authorities in Gaza reported critical shortages of laboratory supplies for COVID-19 testing, the World Health Organization said in late October.

Gaza saw an average of nearly 475 cases of COVID-19 per day during October. The besieged coastal strip accounted for most of the active cases in the occupied Palestinian territories during the month.

Coronavirus restrictions were eased in Gaza except for areas reporting increased numbers of positive cases. Mosques, markets and schools were partially reopened.

More than 65,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where 555 people have died from the disease, as of 1 November.

A Palestinian protester hurls a stone towards an Israeli military jeep during confrontations following a weekly demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the village of Kfar Qaddum, near the West Bank city of Nablus, on 2 October.

Oday Daibes APA images

Palestinians drive past a coronavirus-themed mural in Gaza City on 3 October.

Mohammed Zaanoun ActiveStills

Tawfiq Shanaa performs traditional Palestinian songs on the oud in Rafah refugee camp in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on 3 October.

Mahmoud Ajjour APA images

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh offers condolences to Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the emir of Kuwait, on the passing of Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, in Kuwait City on 4 October. The latter died at the age of 91 in late September after ruling the Gulf country for 14 years.

Prime Minister’s office

Maher al-Akhras, on hunger strike in protest of his detention without charge or trial by Israel since late July, at a hospital in the Israeli city of Rehovot on 6 October.

      Oren Ziv ActiveStills

Palestinian supporters of the resistance faction Islamic Jihad tweet with the hashtag “We will meet in Jerusalem” in Gaza City on 6 October.

Mohammed Salem APA images

A Palestinian farmer pollinates dragon fruit at a farm in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, on 6 October. 

Mahmoud Ajjour APA images

Fighters from the Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, take part in a military parade in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on 10 October.

Ashraf Amra APA images

The parents of a fisher detained by Egypt demand the release of their son in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip, 10 October. The Egyptian Navy killed two brothers and detained a third as they fished off of Gaza’s coast last month.

Yasser Qud APA images

Israeli soldiers fire tear gas at Palestinians observing Friday prayers during a demonstration against a new settlement built on the lands of Beit Dajan near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, 9 October.

Oren Ziv ActiveStills

A Palestinian tries to put out a fire that started after Israeli soldiers fired tear gas during a demonstration against a new Israeli settlement built on the lands of Beit Dajan near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, on 9 October.

Oren Ziv ActiveStills

Israeli military vehicles raze farmland inside Gaza, on the boundary with Israel, Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, 13 October.

Ashraf Amra APA images

Palestinian pupils play in a schoolyard in the occupied West Bank village of Jibna near Hebron on 25 October. The school is located in Area C, the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control. Israel routinely demolishes Palestinian structures built without rarely-issued military permits, including schools built with international aid. Israel demolished or seized 21 donor-funded aid structures in September as demolitions overall have spiked during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mosab Shawer APA images

A Palestinian woman scuffles with Israeli Border Police soldiers as the military prepares to demolish her house and shed in Yatta, south of the West Bank city of Hebron, on 18 October. Israel does not allow Palestinian development in Area C, the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military and civilian control. 

Mosab Shawer APA images

Palestinians worship at a Gaza City mosque after holy places reopened to worshippers following COVID-19 closures, 18 October.

Mohammed Salem APA images

A woman holds up a photo of family members during a meeting with Ahmed Bahar, deputy of the Palestinian Legislative Council with the families of Palestinian migrants who went missing after their ships capsized four years ago, Gaza City, on 18 October. On 3 November 2016, some 240 people were killed after two migrant boats capsized off the coast of Libya. Nearly 5,000 people are estimated to have died while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea that year.

Mahmoud Ajjour APA images

A Palestinian girl helps her family harvest olives in Jabaliya, northern Gaza Strip, on 20 October.

Mohammed Salem APA images

A picture taken on 20 October shows Israeli drilling equipment used to look for infiltration tunnels along the Gaza-Israel boundary east of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip.

Ashraf Amra APA images

Palestinians hold a vigil in the West Bank city of Ramallah to support Maher al-Akhras, on hunger strike in protest of his detention without charge or trial by Israel, 21 October.

Ahmad Al-Bazz ActiveStills

Israeli soldiers inspect Palestinian olive harvesters at agricultural gates along Israel’s barrier in the West Bank village of Falamya on 22 October. Israel uses such gates to limit villagers’ access to their lands by requiring military-issued permits. The gates are only opened twice a day for 15 minutes during the harvest.

Ahmad Al-Bazz ActiveStills

A classroom is used to distribute textbooks at a school run by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip, amid the coronavirus pandemic, 22 October.

Ashraf Amra APA images

Palestinians protest against changes in food aid provided by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, in Nuseirat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip on 22 October.

Ashraf Amra APA images

UNRWA employees in Gaza City prepare food aid to be distributed to refugee family homes, rather than at a UN center, amid the coronavirus pandemic, 24 October.

Mahmoud Ajjour APA images

A sugarcane farmer works on his land east of Gaza City, near the Israeli-built barrier that surrounds Gaza, on 24 October. Israel routinely fires on farmers working their lands inside a poorly defined “buffer zone” on the interior of Gaza’s boundary with Israel.

Mohammed Zaanoun ActiveStills

A Palestinian artist paints a mural critical of French President Emmanuel Macron in Nuseirat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, on 28 October, to protest against a French magazine’s publication of caricatures of the Prophet and Macron’s announcement to “reform” Islam. Macron’s controversial remarks came after a teacher was beheaded in France after showing the caricatures to students during a lesson on free speech. 

Ashraf Amra APA images

Palestinian students wear protective face masks as schools partially reopen amid a COVID-19 outbreak, Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip, 28 October.

Ashraf Amra APA images

Palestinian wheelchair users protest against an Israeli order to stop the building of a sports facility for them in the West Bank town of Salfit on 28 October.

Shadi Jarar’ah APA images